Lakers Rumors: Kobe Bryant ‘Will Wish For’ Tom Thibodeau As Next Coach

Lakers Rumors: Kobe Bryant ‘Will Wish For’ Tom Thibodeau As Next Coach



UPDATE (11:41 AM PST): The Lakers plan to reach out to the Chicago Bulls for permission to interview Tom Thibodeau according to ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin:

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers surprised most when the team announced that Mike D’Antoni has resigned as head coach. While there were conflicting reports on D’Antoni’s future, he wanted the team to pick up his fourth year option of his contract, but the Lakers declined to do so.

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With the Lakers now looking for a new head coach and numerous options available, Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, and Steve Kerr have already expressed interested in the position. Having said that, many are curious to see who Kobe Bryant wants as the next Lakers head coach in the final two seasons of his career.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Bryant “will wish for” Chicago Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau and also admires Jeff Van Gundy, Ettore Messina, and Scott:

Bryant will wish for Tom Thibodeau to free himself from Chicago. He loves Jeff Van Gundy, and shares management’s affinity for Euro legend Ettore Messina, who spent a season on Mike Brown’s staff.

Bryant has long admired Byron Scott, but there’s a different ex-Lakers guard who could go much further to regenerate the franchise’s culture and hold the insight into getting the most out of Bryant’s final two seasons: Derek Fisher.

Although Bryant has been extremely complimentary of Thibodeau’s work ethic and passion for the game, the Bulls coach is still under contract. While Thibodeau might not be a realistic option right now, there are plenty of qualified coaches available including George Karl, Hollins, Messina, and the Van Gundy brothers.

With D’Antoni resigning, the Lakers face the most important off-season since 2003-04 and will start their coaching search immediately. While the team will prepare for the draft and free agency, Los Angeles will have to explore all possible options as they look to rebuild themselves into championship contenders once again.
BREAKING: Mike D’Antoni OUT, Resigns As Lakers Head Coach

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  • santo1

    lakers should hire jerry sloan ………………

    • Chrmngblly

      Very good get, if only we could….

      • James Jones

        Kobe has mad respect for Sloan as well… but I think age and health will ultimately keep him from taking another head coaching job.

        • Pope Chuck Paul

          i’ve been saying this since sloan left utah. well proven track record.

        • Chrmngblly

          Yes…once you retire, it is hard to go back.
          The most important thing to me is I want a different decision-making apparatus in the Lakers FO making this next decision. We just can’t have a pothead choosing our next coach like he did the last couple. I would like Magic to choose our next coach or at least be involved in it.

          It could be Derek Fisher, even. This is not going to be about X’s and O’s. I am so afraid Jim Buss will not be up to hiring someone really good. Please God, let Magic consult during this coaching search.


    I love George Karl, but I don’t want a coach who struggles to get out the first round.
    Kevin Ollie is perfect cuz he is Durants bff
    Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins have both overseen rebuilding efforts and turned the teams to gold (Scott in NO, not CLE).
    Thibs would be awesome of course. He knows how to use Noah, so he’ll know how to use Pau if he comes back.
    Jeff Van Gundy is a good coach, but has he ever done anything of superior meaning? Not to diss him, but has he even coached a team to the finals? Or the conf finals?

    • Jackolito Estrada

      Jeff Van Gundy coached the number 8 seed NYKnicks to the finals against the Spurs. And that was the lockout season. but he did not do well when he coached the Houston rockets, always a 1st round exit..

    • Jan

      Yeah the finals… NY Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets in 94…

    • LAstory

      George Karl wont happen because of two things, 1. Kobe and George respect each other but are not fond of each other and 2. which is a story that NO Laker fan has heard unless you’re a North Carolina fan, Mitch and George HATE each other, years ago MK called GK the black sheep of the family (they are both under Dean Smith) and he wouldn’t be a good fit with them (Tarheels) or us (Lakers), this came up before Mike Dunleavy was hired and again when George wanted the North Carolina job before Dougherty got the job. I not sure I want a head coach in Ollie being “best friends” with a player, not an ideal situation.. and you say what has Jeff done of Superior meaning, other than taking the Knicks to the NBA finals in 1999… I can say the same about Kevin Ollie.. I rather get Coach K, whose far and beyond Ollie ever will be…

    • Dion Richardson

      Scott took New Jersey to back to back Finals, don’t forget…

      I think Van Gundy’s Knicks went to the finals in ’99…

  • Jackolito Estrada

    should the lakers draft Joel Embiid, I hope they hire Lionel Hollins, the way Hollins utilize Zbo and Marc Gasol when he was still in Memphis, I think Hollins can maximize the talent and skills of Pau, and Embiid can also learn a lot on defense from Hollins. Plus Kobe is still there a great closer that he is. Hollins will be a great fit to the Lakers.

  • disqus_aCzvNuGEo8

    Yes, coach Thibodeau would be the best option. He is respected by players and his defensive mentality is something what the Lakers need so much. They are going to have players who can score Kobe,(possibly some of these: Melo, Gasol, Young, Love, Hayward, Stephenson) bench with Farmar, Meeks, Johnson, Henry…In fact the sun is rises for the Lakers. But back to the coaches, yes Thibodeau is number 1 for me. Number 2: Steve Kerr. Why? -Triangle offense! Number 3- Hollins.

    • LAstory

      Thibs is a good coach, but remember what the NBA Gm’s are saying about Luol Deng, he has a lot of mileage on his body because Thibs goes hard in games wearing down his star players.. Kobe don’t need this his last two years…

      • Terrence

        I am a bit apprehensive about that too. But part of that is also the drop off in talent on the Bull’s roster. The last fully loaded roster he’s had was back in ’10 his first year as the coach. Ever since then its been getting thinner and thinner. I’d love to see a Doc Rivers vs. Tom Thibodeau rivalry in the LA.

        • LAstory

          Agreed, what do you think of a Melo to Bulls, how do you think that changes the form?

    • ccxcccccc

      Thib… Hell no. Baaaad choice.

  • Chrmngblly

    We should continue to show loyalty to those who have served the Lakers so well and faithfully over many years. I don’t know who Mitch has in the FO apprentice pipeline but you would think both Fish and Nash would be talents the organization should cherish somewhere and perhaps come to lean on in the future, as we have with Mitch. Kerr would be a strong addition to this corps of younger blood coming up, too.

    I really love Kevin Ollie—but is he ready?? I have always liked Derek Fisher, too, though. I would really like Magic to make this call/recommendation. How about it JB?

  • Zimmeredge

    Messina that would be a dream like hollins, Ollie or even scott. Of cours thibs is great too but he has a special roster in Chicago. But messina He is, by far, the best in Europe right now. He knows the organisation, Bryant, gasol. He is not the type of coach that will come in and impose his system. He will observe the players and play them to their qualities. He is the kind of coach Kobe would listen.

    • Jim213

      Thib, would be one of the top choices but it’s doubtful that the bulls would let go of a coach who’s made the best with what he has (roster, lacking offense). However, I’d even consider bringing in Messina and B Scott as part of the coaching staff if FO goes with another coach. This will eventually place them (Messina and B Scott) closer to landing another coaching gig in the league down the line.

      • Zimmeredge

        thibs is clearly an attractive target for us. but landing him in this off season… nah not convinced. we have 41 nash and 36 Kobe and 3 young players with no particular defensive skills.
        Thibs makes his best players play more than 33 minutes. we can’t do that with kobe anymore. that would be a killer. i’m not doubting his heeart & spirit but his body.
        as for messina and scott, alongside ollie and hollins those gus are my favorite. refusing (as fans) messina would be lame. messina has wrote basketball history and he’s still pretty young. he is a reference nowadays.
        but i don’t think either Scott or messina will be interested as part of a coaching staff. Scott have a well established coaching career.. and messina is a living legend to a lot of people. i mean the guy could give a class to many nba coaches. he is a prooven winner and he might not be interested in something other than HC. they have coached for more than 15 years now so that would be disrespectful.

        • Jim213

          Word is Messina will likely take the job as Popovich’s right hand man (staff). Yes, Scott can coach in the league but IMO he’d likely wait more time as an analyst than by joining a coaching staff to appeal more to other suitors.

    • Terrence

      I don’t know about Messina. Didn’t we already try to get him after Phil, but he only agreed to be a consultant? Doesn’t seem like he wants to leave Europe. Hollins isn’t a big enough name for the Lakers. Fisher has had no coaching experience. He might come on as an assistant coach, but not as head coach.

      • Zimmeredge

        we hired mike brown pretty quickly after pj retired if my memories are correct. brown wanted him because he had never played with two dominant big mens, because we were an aging group and playing more half court offense. at first messina did not want to steal anybody’s job. he wanted to learn and discover for himself what the nba was, i mean from the inside. it was a great experience for him I guess after 20 successful years in Europe. But at the end of the season he wasn’t happy with it globaly because he didn’t have the opportunity to fully express his talent and be able to shine. the guy has won everything in europe. he is a legend and yet… he is just brown’s offensive consultant not even an assistant coach. nonsense.
        so at the end of the day mike brown was the one in charge and brown made the decisions. unfortunately, most of the time it was simply a pass-to-kobe type of offense just like it was a pass-to-lebron with the cavs.
        to sum it up, messina has the resume, the skills and the psychology to coach a franchise but it depends also on the roster he has…well like any coaches actually. he needs skilled, dedicated players, and with a good understanding of the game. he is not the type of coach who will value freak athlete (Stoudemire or D12 will not be his favorite players for exemple because they are not as gifted as the Gasols, Duncan, Griffin, Love) although his teams play tough. he loves guys with brain and hands. he plays the transition offense not a mda fast-paced type of O tho. he is really good at setting his team on a half court offense.
        i guess fisher will become next hc’s assistant.

  • Zulu

    Yes the coaching search is going to be one that is very well thought and their should be no immediate timetable as we are still in season and we must wait to see which of these playoffs coaches get fired.Frank Vogel,Scott Brooks,Mark Jackson are all rumored to be coaching to keep their jobs.

    Also Doc Rivers might be released from his contract if he pursues a release with the NBA league offices regarding the special circumstances the entire Clippers organization is under due to the serious matter of racism the team is under from their owner Donald Sterling and The Sterling Family.Perhaps players will also be let out of their contracts if they take it up with the players rep Kevin Johnson and NBA leader The Great Silver.I love Adam Silver and what he stood for the other day,job well done.

    Yes the Lakers must take full advantage and capitalize on the Clippers misfortune and stupidity and ignorance that led to the demise of the franchise owner Donald Sterling.Now the Lakers must kick the Clippers while they are down and just show the NBA we are still the best franchise in Los Angeles and the we are a equal opportunity employer and we are all about winning championships while putting our players in a comfortable family friendly good environment.

    Black players will for sure want to join to the Lakers just to spite Donald Sterling and the Clippers.All the top name free agents wanting the nice sunny beaches and cool weather will join the Lakers instead of the Clippers i guarantee it after Donald Sterling and the Clippers committed the cardinal sin they killed their franchise off with this big huge dark cloud of racism hovering over them forever.The Clippers owner is his own worst enemy.Sterling should have gotten out of the game a long time ago.Now he will be regretting it.

    • Chrmngblly

      DP would be afraid that Doc Rivers would “usurp” Jimmy. So will Jimmy. The Lakers so far, cannot hire anyone really good because of that limitation: Jimmy’s insecurity.

    • $20509373

      Reports of the Clippers demise has been greatly exaggerated. I want to the Lakers to take the city back as well, but it won’t be as easy as you think.

    • smugbill

      what he is really regretting is having such a traitorous harlot in his life.

  • dennis soliman

    what i like about the lakers situation right now is that they hsve numerous options right now in terms of coaching..


    As much as I like Thibedeau as our coach, I’d be concerned about him running our star players into the ground. (See: D-Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah last year)

    • Jack

      Who else in chicago deserves consistent play time? Thibs does what he has to do to win. The lakers front office (at some point) would give him a deeper team to work with to prevent the extended minutes.


    Wasn’t Kobe the one who wished for Mike D’Antoni ? Kobe you are my fav player but let the FO find some one with great winning history and can put us in the position to win championships please.

    • Jeff

      He did not wish for D’antoni. He was not opposed to the idea, but certainly he wasnt lobbying for him. He was giddy about Phil and even recently said the lakers cant blow it twice when it comes to passing on Phil

  • roseducanna

    Who can discipline KOBE ? He is a fit and good coach for LAKERS.

    • Dion Richardson

      Byron Scott. Mentored him as a player when he came in and is a proven champion!

  • Dion Richardson

    Byron Scott with D.Fish as an assistant. Lionel Hollins would be my next in line…

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Regardless of who the Lakers hire as head coach,it must be a head coach that is a disciplinary and he brings DISCIPLINE with him.

  • hookedonnews

    Doubt that Kobe is wishing for Thibodeau. Joakim Noah was recently quoted as telling his coach that “if we didn’t win games, I would hate you.” This roster is certainly not tailor-made for a coach like Thibs. He’s a great defensive coach, but it remains to be seen if he can get a team to the Finals. They couldn’t even get past the Wizards this year. I see no coaches out there who are going to come in and transform this team. The Lakers need players. For once I agree with Charles Barkley. That probably won’t happen again anytime soon. As for the idea of hiring someone who’s never coached a team on any level, I don’t see that happening & it shouldn’t.

  • KingEmperor

    Tom Thibodeau or Lionel Hollins both of them are great coaches..

  • LakersHeatBeef

    The only way the Bulls agree to let Coach Thibs out of his contract early is if the Lakers pay them cash at least a few million dollars and they would very likely want the Lakers to absorb part of the Carlos Boozer contract of $16.8 million dollars and in exchange the Lakers would send Steve Nash and his $9.7 million dollars expiring contract in exchange.The move saves the Bulls about $7 million dollars in salary cap space and it adds millions in the pocket of cheapskate Bulls owner Jerry R.

    No way in hell are the Lakers trading the lottery pick for Coach Thibs never will that ever happen.People need to get off that idea already LOL.It’s Carlos Boozer leaving to the Lakers via trade to clear up cap space for the Bulls to get Carmelo Anthony via free agency.

    Also it’s possible the Lakers might absorb the whole Boozer contract but highly unlikely.The NBA will very likely only allow this to happen if draft picks are swapped out but not players so both Bulls First Rounders plus Thibs to the Lakers for our Lottery Pick i would never agree to that deal either.The Boozer for Nash swap yes as long as we get Coach Thibs in return.

  • Lacosta

    I am reading some comments down bellow about Magic Johnson and D.Fisher to be involved in the decision making for the new head-coach and kind of agree with it. Honestly, I don’t trust anymore Mich Kupchak and in lesser degrees in Jimmy Buss. They have taken the wrongest possible decisions in the last few years by not offering the job to Phil Jackson, then hiring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni. They also made several very, very bad decisions by bringing in Dw.Howard just for one season and giving up for that our 1-st round pics for the next years. Then was that ridiculous signing of 38 y.o. St.Nash without any serious medical examinations and tests.Too many gaffes for that short time. So, there is need of extra help to make the right decision these weeks and Magic Johnson is the best possible person for that. The Lakers has to go really hard after Tom Thibodeau. He is free agent coach and I am sure is willing to take the challenge to coach a newly rebuilding team and to work for the best franchise in this sport.

  • Yuro Doosh

    Take it from a Chicago fan, Kobe: you don’t want Thibs.
    Sure, each player will grow defensively (well, almost every player- I’m looking at you, Boozer) but your team will not adjust to sudden season/playoff changes. You’ll all be tired by the end of the season; some of you will even be injured when it matters most. You’ll be outcoached by the elite, and you won’t have ANY backup plan when you need it.

    But if that’s OK with you, please…….. go ahead. At least he’ll set a solid tone in the beginning of the season.

  • KB24

    1.TOM THIBS(WE WILL DRAFT EMBIID KEEP PAU +D) 2.B.SCOTT 3.HOLLINS-though there are rumors DET wants him as nxt HC bcoz of drummond monroe so no chance on him…….Honestly, I DONT WANT A ROOKIE COACH, if scott then draft exum, if thibs of course EMBIID though we can trade marshall,meeks,wes and hill plus future picks for exum… ROOTING FOR THIBS, EXUM-KOBE-DENG-LOVE-EMBIID 6th man SwaggyP,7th man,PAU OR HILL

  • jeremy

    coach V.STIVIANO

  • Hardy

    Thibs will only be as good if you give him the bruising hard nosed guys he needs to run his D. Sorry, but he’s not coming in with a magic wand and all of a sudden turn our soft frontline of Pau, Kelly, and Sacre into even average defenders.

  • lakers baby

    What if the Lakers get both of the van Gundy brothers?I think that’d be awesome!!